Georgia's Future. Now! Header
February 2014

Georgia's Future. Now! 
Georgia Studentsis a package of initiatives that has withstood the scrutiny of teachers, principals and research.  It features high standards, evaluation and accountability measures focused on improvement, and career pathways to inspire students based on their personal interests and aligned with business needs.
Georgia's Future. Now! means: 

Georgia's K-12 Achievement Ranks 17th in the Nation
Georgia's K-12 Achievement ranks 17th in the nation, according to an Education Week report.  The K-12 Achievement Index is one indicator in the Quality Counts report that measures key education outcomes and provides ranks and grades for each state based on their commitment to improve educational policies and practices.  In previous years, the Quality Counts report gave states an overall ranking (Georgia ranked 7th in the nation for the past two years) but it does not compile overall state rankings this year.  States are only ranked on the six individual indicators.

The K-12 Achievement Index examines 18 state achievement measures related to reading and math performance on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), high school graduation rates, and the results of Advanced Placement exams.  It also looks at poverty-based achievement gaps and progress in closing those gaps.


"The report that Education Week produces shows a marked difference from the stereotype most people think of with Georgia's K-12 Achievement," said State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge.  "When looking at more than one indicator, it is clear that Georgia's students are performing at higher levels than many of their peers across the nation, especially those in the other southeastern states.  Our students and teachers don't get enough credit for the great work they are doing in the classroom."


K-12 Achievement Index Highlights

  • Achievement Gains: 4th grade reading (scale score change on NAEP from 2003-2013 - Ranked 5th in the nation
  • Poverty Gap: Math gap change (8th grade NAEP from 2003-2013) - Ranked 5th in the nation
  • High School Graduation: Ten-year change in graduation rate - Ranked 10th in the nation
  • Advanced Placement: Change in AP scores (change in high scores per 100 students - Ranked 5th in the nation; High AP test scores (scores of 3 or higher per 100 students) - Ranked 9th in the nation


For the second consecutive year, Georgia was also ranked first in the nation with a score of 100 in the Transitions and Alignment category on the annual "Quality Counts" report.  Georgia's score comes from the state enacting the 14 policies examined by Education Week, including curriculum alignment from prekindergarten through college and programs to help students not meeting school-readiness benchmarks.  That work started with the Alliance for Education Agency Heads, which is composed of Georgia government agencies and departments: the Governor's Office, the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning, the Georgia Department of Education, the University System of Georgia, the Technical College System of Georgia, the Georgia Professional Standards Commission, the Georgia Student Finance Commission and the Governor's Office of Student Achievement.  The group has been working since 2005 to create a smooth education pipeline from preschool through college and to unite the education community in Georgia.


In the report, Georgia also ranked 18th in the nation and received an A- for Standards, Assessments, and Accountability.  This section of the report looks at each state's academic standards in English/language arts, mathematics, science and social studies.  Georgia received a perfect 100 for standards, compared to the national average of 87.3.  The Standards, Assessments, and Accountability section of the report also evaluates states' assessments and accountability systems, such as Georgia's College and Career Ready Performance Index.


Another section where Georgia performed well was The Teaching Profession, where Georgia ranked 10th in the nation for its efforts to improve teaching.  Specific areas evaluated in this section of the report include Accountability for Quality, Incentives and Allocation, and Building and Supporting Capacity.


View the State Report Cards

View the Full State Report
Growing Great Leaders: Cherokee County Schools Superintendent's Leadership Academy
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The Cherokee County School District builds leadership capacity through its annual Superintendent's Leadership Academy program.  Superintendent of Schools Dr. Frank R. Petruzielo established the program to provide teacher-leaders and assistant principals who aspire to be principals with an opportunity for mentoring and growth in preparation for a leadership position.  "Each and every school in the District must be led by highly competent, well--trained and informed instructional leaders; and this program greatly assists us in the development of outstanding future administrators from within our own ranks," Dr. Petruzielo said.


Leadership Academy I

Leadership Academy I is comprised of teachers who aspire to be administrators. Participants are nominated by their principal and recommended by a District leadership committee to the Superintendent.   These aspiring leaders participate in five half-day sessions, and the highlight of the first is a conversation with the Superintendent of Schools.  Dr. Petruzielo shares his vision for the School District, current trends in education, legislative issues impacting the district and state, and his expectations of a CCSD leader among other topics.  The next four sessions consist of presentations conducted by departments of the Superintendent's Cabinet, including Personnel, Curriculum, Technology and School Operations.  Academy I participants receive relevant information concerning the functions of each CCSD department.  They also participate in small focus groups facilitated by Cabinet leaders in which they are presented with relevant scenarios pertaining to leadership positions.  The final session concludes with a panel discussion of newly-selected assistant principals in a question-and-answer format.


Leadership Academy II

Leadership Academy II serves to build leadership capacity in assistant principals who aspire to be principals in the district.  Participants are selected by the Superintendent in collaboration with the CCSD Office of School Operations.  In addition to the components of Academy I, Academy II members are mentored by their school's principal, given an opportunity to receive additional Performance-Based Certification through a CCSD partnership with Kennesaw State University, assigned a Director of School Operations mentor and are assured a wide range of experiences and job opportunities.  This year-long program also begins with a session with the Superintendent and concludes with a panel discussion with newly appointed principals.


Session Agendas

Leadership Academy agendas include information pertinent to an aspiring principal.  A sample of topics covered include: CCSD Organizational Chart, Five-Year Strategic Plan, Major System Priorities, data management, Human Resource Operations Act, District Legislative Program, Race to the Top initiatives, School Improvement Plan process and professional development, just to name a few.  Academy participants also are expected to develop a comprehensive awareness of the contents of the CCSD "Principal's Handbook."  Leadership candidates work through real-world scenarios that place them in the role of a principal and ask them to respond to issues that principals face on a daily basis.  "These scenarios allow aspiring leaders to work in collaboration with their peers, analyze problems and identify applicable strategies and District resources in an effort to come to an appropriate decision," Dr. Petruzielo said.


Sustainability and Financial Impact

The Leadership Academy program began in 1999 with bi-annual assistant principal meetings with the Superintendent.  In 2007, the program expanded to include teacher-leaders in Academy I and assistant principals in Academy II.  The program subsequently expanded to include all departments in the Superintendent's Cabinet.  Currently, Leadership Academies I and II are rotated on an annual recurring basis.  Costs associated with implementing the Leadership Academies are minimal.  Substitute costs for teachers participating in Academy I are covered through Title II funds.  The other major investment is time from the Superintendent and Cabinet Members to prepare relevant topics and scenarios to present.  "The time investment pays huge dividends in the development of future District leaders," Dr. Petruzielo said.  Participant feedback has expressed the great value future leaders gained both from presentations and small-group interaction with District leaders, particularly with the Superintendent.



The Superintendent's Leadership Academy has proven to be very successful in identifying and training competent and dynamic CCSD administrators.  Since 2007, 42 of the 104 Academy I participants have secured administrative positions with CCSD.  All assistant principals employed in 2012-13 participated in a Leadership Academy; and the vast majority of current principals participated in Leadership Academy II.


"The Leadership Academy program is just one of many CCSD initiatives that have led to extraordinary student achievement results," Dr. Petruzielo said.  "Student success is a team effort, and we need great administrators to lead that team." 
For More information about CCSD Superintendents' Leadership Academy, please contact Dr. Bob Eddy - Administrator on Special Assignment, Educational Programs - Cherokee County School District.  Email:
Griffin-Spalding County Schools Putting FIP into Practice
When the Georgia Department of Education's Division for Assessment and Accountability created Georgia FIP (Formative Instructional Practices), its goal was to create professional learning opportunities for educators that teach them about formative instructional practices and enhance their own use of these strategies.  


What are formative instructional practices (FIP)?  FIP includes formal and informal assessment processes that teachers and students use to gather evidence of student learning.  It is a process in which teachers use tools, strategies, and resources to determine what students know, identify possible gaps in understanding, modify instruction, and actively engage students in their learning.   A key expectation of FIP is that teachers develop skills to guide students to take ownership for their own learning.  Research has shown that FIP strategies, when appropriately used during teaching and learning, increase student achievement.  


What does Georgia FIP provide? It provides a blended learning experience focusing on the four core components of formative instructional practice:

  • Creating and using clear learning targets
  • Collecting and documenting accurate evidence of student achievement
  • Analyzing evidence and providing effective feedback
  • Preparing students to take ownership of their learning through peer feedback, self-assessment, and more.

The knowledge and use of formative instructional practices contained in the seven Georgia FIP modules align well with the performance expectations for Georgia's teachers and leaders, which are aligned with Georgia's Teacher Assessment on Performance Standards (TAPS) of the Teacher Keys Effectiveness System (TKES) and the Leader Assessment on Performance Standards (LAPS) of the Leader Keys Effectiveness System (LKES)

Griffin-Spalding County Schools: Putting FIP Into Practice
The Griffin-Spalding School System has been intentional in integrating FIP into their education process.  So, we asked Denise Burrell (Deputy Superintendent for Instruction: Griffin-Spalding County School System) a few questions about Georgia FIPs impact and how they are using it in their schools.

How has the Griffin-Spalding County Schools used Georgia FIP to support its teachers and students? 

FIP is one of the five non-negotiables for our school system

 this year.  Last year, we began working with learning targets (LTs) at our summer administrative retreat.  This work allowed us to see how powerful learning targets could be for our students and teachers.  When the Georgia Department of Education released the FIP modules, we realized it provided a systemic way to involve all of our certified staff in becoming proficient in using formative assessments to increase student mastery of standards.  We had previously worked with formative assessments, but these modules gave us a different perspective.  It gave us a greater amount of depth and a formalized process for teaching our staff and allowing us to establish a plan for implementation.    


It was clear for our administrative team that FIP was to become an ingrained practice and part of our education process.  Therefore, we have all administrators, teachers, media specialists, academic coaches and counselors enrolled in the appropriate learning path.  We monitor the list and make sure our staff is progressing through the modules.  As soon as teachers complete the module on learning targets, our division begins doing learning target "walk-throughs".  With the use of an instrument we created, we are able to recognize the desired learning targets and their appropriate exemplars. 


How has Georgia FIP benefited GSCS Students and Teachers?  Are there any specific resources that have been most helpful?

Our students and teachers are more able to recognize what they know and what they are able to do.  We have a common understanding of getting the standards converted to a learning target, which for our students (our consumers) can lead to greater achievement.  It is transforming how we assess, when we assess, and what we do with assessments.  The resources that our teachers find valuable are the exemplars in the modules, as well as concrete examples and explanations.  


Additional comments about Georgia FIP

The resource is wonderful.  We give kudos to the Assessment and Accountability Division (of GADOE) for recognizing the need for and developing modules that can truly transform instructional practices and impact our students' success. 


Superintendent Jones' leadership to make FIP a non-negotiable for our district helped set the tone for the importance and value in becoming proficient in formative assessments, developing learning targets, and collecting evidence that shows student mastery of those goals.


As a curriculum staff, we don't have time to undertake actions that are not productive for our students and teachers.  The learning target "walk-throughs" allow us to see where it is working and to share exemplars in our system with our staff. 

For more information about Georgia FIP and more information about Griffin-Spalding County Schools' use of Georgia FIP, you may contact Denise Burrell at
Georgia Dept. of Education's Teacher Resource Link

Dr. Barge DOE logo The Teacher Resource Link (TRL) is an application that delivers vetted and aligned digital resources to Georgia's teachers.  TRL is accessible via the Georgia Department of Education's (GADOE) "tunnel" in conjunction with its State Longitudinal Data System's (SLDS) single sign-on process.  The content is aligned to Common Core Georgia Performance Standards, Georgia Performance Standards, and National Education Technology Standards and provided to teachers based on course schedule. 


Using the resource link, teachers are able to assign digital resources to students based upon the student's performance on an assessment or by searching for aligned resources by grade, subject, and standard.  Resources found in the Teacher Resource Link include Georgia Virtual School course content, Thinkfinity, Learning Village, Destination Math and Reading, GaDOE subject frameworks, and additional teacher aligned vetted digital links.  Digital content is available for most subjects in grades K-12.


Resources are categorized into student and teacher resources during the search phase.  Teacher Resource Link allows a teacher to search for resources aligned to a standard for student consumption or for teacher directed usage.  In addition, TRL provides a folders feature allowing teachers to save, assign and store, resources from year to year, school to school.


Teacher Resource Link is available to all teachers in the state of Georgia using the SLDS application.


Teacher Resource Link Training

The Georgia Department of Education - Instructional Technology Training Team offers training resources for educators using the teacher resource link.  

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The contents of this newsletter were developed under a grant from the U. S. Department of Education.  However, these contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the U. S. Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.

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